(V-Strom under snow - February, 2010) Call me Skyguy. Sometimes the greatest adventures have the least auspicious beginnings. This one started in a blizzard. Way back in the winter of 2009/2010, the Washington DC area (where I live) was hit with back-to-back blizzards. Not the tasty Dairy Queen kind; these were snowstorms that dumped more than two feet of the white stuff. It was the snowiest winter ever recorded in the region. I haven't seen that many flakes since my high school reunion. Schools were closed for a week. The federal government was shut down. The entire population was stuck in their homes for days. I decided to use my trapped-at-home time off constructively: I watched the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy on DVD. The extended versions. All of 'em. It was great. And it got me thinking. I was due for an adventure. Overdue, really. In my youth, I spent my summers doing long bicycle tours. Like Denver-to-Boston long. I've ridden the entire west coast, all of the Rocky Mountain states, in all but a handful of the United States. (on a bicycle) Going-to-the-Sun Road? Did it. Icefields Parkway? Check. Alaska? Canadian Maritimes? Yep and yep. Iceland? Yes, Iceland. On a bicycle, loaded down with camping equipment. Sometimes with a group, sometimes alone. Always good fun. (topping out on Going-to-the-Sun Highway, July 17, 1983) I don't really know why I stopped. Guess I just never got around to planning The Next Big Trip. Work consumed more time, vacation hours were scarce, and money was tight. Pick an excuse; most people have buckets of excuses in stock. And I kept getting older in the meantime. It's not like I wasn't having fun. I took up skydiving, and pursued that for a decade or so. I've logged 1,583 jumps. I've taken a few scuba trips, too. And the sky and the sea will always be a part of my life. (West Point, VA – that's me facing you in the yellow) Then, a couple of years ago, I took up motorcycling... and it was like reuniting with an old friend. The motorcycle took me places I'd forgotten I loved. Two wheels, the open road, and the endless black ribbon of possibility... all that life-affirming, soul-satisfying stuff. That's where I wanted to be. Which brings us back to the snowy winter, and the Lord of the Rings. I was rapidly closing in on my first half-century of life on this planet, and wanted to do something momentous to mark the occasion. The movies got me thinking about New Zealand, which looked spectacular. And I could use me some spectacular. So, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I decided I would ride a motorcycle around New Zealand. While I compost my thoughts, here are a few photos of coming attractions: Coming soon!